It is hard to blame the Jacksonville Jaguars for being frustrated.
That is a word that has been tossed around plenty during media conferences at TIAA Bank Field following an 0-2 start. But even amid the frustrations, the leaders of the locker room have faith that the same locker room can get the Jaguars past this losing streak.
"We’re here every day working our tail off to get better. We want to win, but I can feel it’s getting better and the morale’s still really good. We have a great culture and a good environment here," Jaguars quarterback Trevor Lawrence said on Wednesday.
"It’s going to take a little time, but we’re getting there.”
That is a big message coming from Lawrence, the No. 1 overall pick in April's draft and one of the team's captains. Lawrence and the Jaguars harped on a steady improvement over the course of the offseason, but the team has learned quickly in 2021 how much of an uphill climb they truly have to snap their 17-game losing streak and ditch Jacksonville's reputation as a losing franchise.
But it isn't a lesson that Lawrence is shying away from. Lawrence said following the 23-13 loss to the Denver Broncos in Week 2 that he didn't feel as if opposing teams have been better than the Jaguars. And while he shared this sentiment on Wednesday, he also knows the pressure is there for the culture to lead to wins quickly.
"I feel like we have a great team and I love the locker room. I think everyone gels, gets along great. Everybody works their butt off," Lawrence said.
"But I will say, obviously, you don’t want to be 0-2 this time. You rather at least won at least one game, hopefully two, but I know we’re getting better. I know that’s frustrating for people out there and it’s frustrating for us too like we want to win."
Lawrence himself hasn't played particularly well in the 0-2 start, throwing five interceptions and completing just 50% of his passes. But there are other factors on the young team that have led to consecutive double-digit losses to open the season, whether it is drops by the offense, miscues in coverage on defense, or missteps in coaching.
But Lawrence knows the deal. He knows he is a rookie fresh out of college with just two NFL starts now under his belt. Lawrence has seen so many things at the NFL level that would have been foreign to him at Clemson through just two weeks, and things won't get any easier.
Lawrence, though, knows his talent and the talent of his team. Along with his belief in the Jaguars' locker room, he has belief in his own skills to help the Jaguars break out of their early slump.
"The thing I have to keep reminding myself is it’s still just a game and the same game I’ve been playing since I was a kid and a game I happen to be good at," Lawrence said.
"I just have to keep reminding myself I belong here. I know I’m young but still, I can play. I can play with all these guys. I think [I’m] just building that confidence for me, for the whole team and I feel ourselves heading towards that. You saw the way we started the game. Obviously, you have to finish, but we feel good. It’s disappointing, but we’re getting there.”
Lawrence and the Jaguars will hope to break their losing streak this Sunday against the 2-0 Arizona Cardinals, a team that could prove to be the toughest test of Jacksonville's early schedule. To do so, Lawrence, the Jaguars' captains, and head coach Urban Meyer will need to find a way to get the Jaguars playing fast and loose as opposed to frustrated and pressing.
"Coach Meyer’s done a great job. Obviously, there’s a sense of urgency here to get better, to get better fast, and to go win games and we’re all ready for that. But he’s done a great job of just keeping the team together and that’s the main thing," Lawrence said.
"This is a long season and I’ve been impressed with just the way he’s led and managed the team. It’s been cool to have a front row seat to that and that permeates obviously through all the leaders on the team and it’s kind of a direct reflection of that. There are a lot of good things to come and we’re excited.”